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J Neurosurg. 2011 Mar;114(3):792-800. doi: 10.3171/2010.8.JNS10461. Epub 2010 Oct 1.

Stereotactic radiosurgery as primary and salvage treatment for brain metastases from breast cancer. Clinical article.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania15213, USA.



To evaluate the role of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the management of brain metastases from breast cancer, the authors assessed clinical outcomes and prognostic factors for survival.


The records from 350 consecutive female patients who underwent SRS for 1535 brain metastases from breast cancer were reviewed. The median patient age was 54 years (range 19-84 years), and the median number of tumors per patient was 2 (range 1-18 lesions). One hundred seventeen patients (33%) had a single metastasis to the brain, and 233 patients (67%) had multiple brain metastases. The median tumor volume was 0.7 cm(3) (range 0.01-48.9 cm(3)), and the median total tumor volume for each patient was 4.9 cm(3) (range 0.09-74.1 cm(3)).


Overall survival after SRS was 69%, 49%, and 26% at 6, 12, and 24 months, respectively, with a median survival of 11.2 months. Factors associated with a longer survival included controlled extracranial disease, a lower recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) class, a higher Karnofsky Performance Scale score, a smaller number of brain metastases, a smaller total tumor volume per patient, the presence of deep cerebral or brainstem metastases, and HER2/neu overexpression. Sustained local tumor control was achieved in 90% of the patients. Factors associated with longer progression-free survival included a better RPA class, fewer brain metastases, a smaller total tumor volume per patient, and a higher tumor margin dose. Symptomatic adverse radiation effects occurred in 6% of patients. Overall, the condition of 82% of patients improved or remained neurologically stable.


Stereotactic radiosurgery was safe and effective in patients with brain metastases from breast cancer and should be considered for initial treatment.

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